Een kritiek op een geromantiseerd vertoog over moederschap. De moordende moeders in Dorresteins Een hart van steen en Raskers Met onbekende bestemming
In contemporary Dutch society, white middleclass
and heterosexual motherhood is often
normatively framed in terms of enjoyment. In
contemporary Dutch literary fiction, however,
this motherhood is regularly problematized.
This offers an interesting tension, which begs
the question of how such literary images of
motherhood relate to the discourse of enjoyment.
This article unravels the relationship
between two bestselling Dutch novels which
both detail the story of a mother who commits
infanticide, and the discourse of enjoyment.
The novels are Een hart van steen
(2003, translated into English in 2001
as A Heart of Stone) by Renate Dorrestein
and Met onbekende bestemming (2003,
translated into English in 2002 as Unknown
Destination) by Maya Rasker.
A contextual, narratologically inspired,
and comparative reading of the novels is offered,
which leads to the conclusion that
both novels – and particularly Met onbekende
bestemming – may to a certain extent be read
as cultural critiques of the discourse of enjoyment
surrounding white heterosexual motherhood
in the middleclass. This holds to a
greater extent for Met onbekende bestemming,
which is the result of the fact that readers of
this novel are stimulated to identify with the
mother who kills her daughter.